From two high-major programs to NJCAA to low-major to undrafted, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kirk Merritt has endured many hardships en route to the NFL.
Playing at Oregon as a true freshman, Merritt collected 61 yards on five receptions. In search for more opportunities to see the field, the 6-foot wideout transferred to Texas A&M. However, off-field issues kept him from suiting up with the Aggies, leading to his move to East Mississippi, an NJCAA Division I school.
Recording 628 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games, Merritt’s impressive play helped the Lions capture a 2017 NJCAA National Championship, in addition to finding him a spot at Arkansas State, where he spent his last two seasons of eligibility at.
Merritt totaled 70 catches for 806 yards and 12 TDs last season. In 2018, he caught 83 passes for 1005 yards and seven touchdowns. His impressive resume helped him earn All-Sun Belt conference honors both years, along with the league’s Newcomer of the Year in 2018.
Despite what seemed to be an impressive showing at Arkansas State, Merritt was not invited to the NFL Draft Combine. However, he caught the eyes of scouts at his pro day.
- 4.02 in the 20-yard shuttle (1st among combine WRs)
- 45.5-inch vertical jump (1st among combine WRs)
- 23 bench press reps (1st among combine WRs)
- 4.33 in the 40-yard dash (2nd among combine WRs)
- 11’3” broad jump (3rd among combine WRs)
Similar to Preston Williams, Merritt’s past issues kept him from being selected in the 2020 Draft. The Dolphins took a chance on the 23-year-old, as he was one of 10 undrafted free agents picked up by the team.
Merritt’s status on Miami’s wide receiver chart will be determined based on his performance in training camp and the preseason, if there is one. If he excels, the Dolphins might have struck gold two years straight in finding gifted wideouts after the draft.